Bambi Kenney and April Downey
Eight members met up in the Northampton commuter lot on Old Ferry Rd at 10:00 AM. The forecast called for the rain to settle down and maybe even stop by then, but it was not to be.
We headed to the Honey Pot in Hadley to search for the reported Northern Shrike. The bird was not in the landfill area, one of the spots it had been seen, so we regrouped on Cemetery Rd for a walk down the dike to the river to check out another location of reported shrike sightings. No birds were moving around, and the rain was still coming down lightly, but persistently. Well after arriving at the river, the skies lightened up, the rain stopped, and the birds began to appear.
Donna found a Northern Harrier across the field, perched in a tree to our south. We all got scope looks, later the same harrier was found perched on a fence, giving us much closer views. A Common Merganser was spotted on the river and a Merlin perched high in a tree on the far side of the river. We heard Horned Larks fly over many times and spotted three groups that totaled to approximately 150 birds.
When we turned around to head back down the dike, there was a bird perched atop a large leafless tree. It resembled a Mockingbird, but the posture was upright. We hurried to get a scope view and it was the immature Northern Shrike, our target bird for the trip. Lois was able to capture the bird in a photo. If you click on the photo and look closely, you can see the tell-tale hook on the shrike's beak. Now all of us were smiling, but more awaited. As we were saying our goodbyes, 3 Bald Eagles came into view to put frosting on the cake of a well-planned hotline trip. See complete list below.